Candidates in the Union of UEA Students 2015 student election were contacted by The Norwich Radical. Responses received by the deadline are presented here, unedited, on an equal platform – candidates are listed in alphabetical order. Manifestos can be found here: www.ueastudent.com/manifestos Voting closes at midday on Friday 13th March. Vote online here: www.ueastudent.com/vote
Why should students support you, in light of The Norwich Radical’s founding statement?
My politics lines up very well with those in the founding statement of the Norwich Radical and this is shown clearly in my manifesto, with my main policy being about Free Education. I am a firm believer that all education should be paid for by truly progressive taxation and the fees we have to pay are unfair, unsustainable and unjust. This is why I want to run a massive campaign across campus to get the Vice-Chancellor of the University to lobby the government with students for Free Education. As well as campaigning against tuition fees it is also evident that maintenance loans are inadequate to cover basic living costs let alone educational costs like books. This is a problem that is particularly pressing amongst nurses due to the way the loan system is sorted out and I am committed to campaigning tirelessly to get maintenance loans reformed for everyone to properly support students, as well as moving towards grants rather than loans. Both of these policies work towards making Higher Education more fair and open to people of all backgrounds, going to Uni shouldn’t be dependent on whether your parents can support you or not and people should not start their adult life with the pressures of massive debt. Therefore, if you are an Undergraduate at UEA and you also believe in free and fair education that works for everyone and creates a more equal society then you should say ‘Oh my gosh’ and vote for Josh (I apologise for the cheesy slogan).
When I was 16 I stumbled across a video that changed my outlook on the world and my life. The video was an interview with the late, great, Tony Benn. He spoke of the unequal society we live in, and the effect of a debt-based economy in politically neutering the poor. This deeply resonated with my experiences of growing up in a mining village after the pit closures. Everything suddenly began to make sense.
It was at that moment I became a socialist, and I began a journey that has eventually me led to here: running for re-election as Postgraduate Education Officer in this year’s union election. This may seem like a strange journey to some. What connection could there possibly be between social inequality in a South Yorkshire mining village and running to be a Postgraduate Sabbatical in Norwich?
That is because, fundamentally, I believe a society based on principles beyond those of profit and the unceasing acquisition of wealth. I believe that, to quote another late, great, socialist, that distribution should take place on the principle ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’ It is through these principles we can begin to understand what connects social inequality in depressed coal fields to postgraduate funding or school closures in our university – they are all a product of the same rotten, inhumane, system.
The values of the Norwich Radical are those that I share, and will remain at the heart of everything I do – whether that’s continuing to campaign against imperialism and war in the Middle East, against austerity, or for a genuine solution to the climate crisis. Being a student union officer isn’t just about changing your course, it’s about challenging the social and economic institutions that underpin everything in our society, the ideas, norms and constructs that impair our lives, our futures and our dreams.